By Kelly Wilton
These 4 steps will hopefully give you some insight into how small daily practices can over time help you in the long run. They are not quick fixes, but practised over time we can hopefully feel a difference that helps us be the very best version of ourselves, so we have something left to give to the ones we love the most.
The power of the shower!
Don’t underestimate the few minutes that you (hopefully!) have to yourself in the shower, whether it be morning or night. Aim to concentrate on nothing but the water, the feel of the water. Slow your breathing. Smell the soap and appreciate this one moment in the day that you can simply focus on you.
The power of the mind!
Quite simply, our minds and self-talk are often what holds us back; the judgment we have towards ourselves and the feeling of overwhelm all start in the mind. If you know you are a negative self-talker – it’s time to go gently on yourself. As much as you are a mother to a child with a disability, you are also you! If you are not kind with yourself, you will find that your energy will be used up much more often, simply with what you are telling yourself.
What does this all mean in reality? Say no to things that won’t make you feel better and say yes to things that will! A short walk, a chat with an old friend, an early night to bed (if you can manage!), respite for overnight if you have chronic interrupted sleep (many of us do as special need parents, and we are all going through life on half-tanks due to sleep deprivation). It may be just the way it is, so even more important with being gentle on yourself day to day.
Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself throughout the day.
The power of the body
The power of our body and where it has taken us is not one to take for granted. We all witness the power of our children’s bodies, so remember yours too and be proud of it! Your body has probably slept in more armchairs and shonky hospital beds than you care to admit! You may find that as you’re getting older, your own health niggles start appearing, for example, bad backs, foggy head, and overall tiredness. It’s taken time for you to get to this point so if you haven’t been caring for yourself the way you do everyone else, start prioritising yourself. Use the simple mantra of ‘helping myself so I can help others’ and don’t fall into that cycle of guilt that we often do when we do things for ourselves.
If you feel like you are too far gone to change, please do reach out to people who can help, whether it be professional or perhaps a mentor or friend that is a bit further ahead than you. Learning to eat right again and even sleep right again, may need some time, practice, gentle self-talk, and even a professional to help you get back on track.
Pay attention to the food you are consuming and your sleep habits; are there ways you can be kinder to yourself? Eat a more varied diet, more veggies and drink more water, perhaps?
The power of the practice
Incorporating mindfulness into our day is hard. We’ve been led to believe that the ‘busy badge’ is the only way to live. It’s not. You can be busy with a purpose. You can be busy with the things that are important to you. You can focus on those tasks, one at a time, and when you find your mind drifting (as I type this, I’m thinking of tonight’s dinner!), take a deep breath and re-set and try again!
Practice day in day out, is boring. It’s not quick and fabulous, it’s slow and steady!
Perseverance to change our habits is a power within itself. We fall off the wagon, so acknowledge it but then get back on and keep going!